The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every year Muslims from all over the world gather in the two Holy Mosques, Mecca and Medina, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to make the pilgrimage. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has therefore invested heavily over the years in the security and emergency services for the comfort of pilgrims. While it is a great spiritual experience for all the pilgrims, at the same time it poses a range of series challenges to the authorities responsible for facilitating the Hajj. Security and emergency issues cause most difficulties and challenges.
Today, there are more than 2.5 million pilgrims with different languages, different ages and level of education gathering in a particular place at a specific time. A significant number of pilgrims die due to both accidents and natural causes and a large number get lost in this extremely crowded gathering. In fact, it is very common for some pilgrims to lose contact with their groups or friends during the rituals and this situation may be critical for certain pilgrims such as women children, the elderly, the sick, etc.
The use of recent technologies in the Hajj season could help in monitoring and tracking the pilgrims. Specifically these technologies could help in congestion, tracking missing pilgrims, discovering who is walking in reverse direction at peak times, re-detection etc. technologies may be found in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). However; Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are not easy to implement and some of them are costly.
This project to make the mission much easier, we made Wireless Sensors Network Stations as emergency fixed stations. These stations will be spread around the holy mosque to support local rescuers and aid the retrieval of missing pilgrims. Each emergency station has a button switch to press if the pilgrims get lost or if they need to request services. The range of the sensor, power consumption and the price are important in choosing the sensor. To meet these criteria we have used RF Engines from Synapse there have a range of up to 5 Km, and the lowest power consumption (IEEE 802.15.4 module running 2.4GHz Frequency, Up to 250 Kbps Data Rate).